Braun homers in Greinke's first start

Braun homers in Greinke's first start

Braun homers in Greinke's first start
PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun hit his first Spring Training home run, but the Reds rallied to beat the Brewers on Thursday, 8-6, in the first spring matchup of National League Central rivals at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Juan Francisco's two-run homer highlighted the Reds' go-ahead, five-run fifth inning and was one of 14 Cincinnati hits. Minor Leaguer Mike Costanzo also homered as the Reds moved back above .500 at 3-2-1.

Braun, first baseman Mat Gamel and outfield prospect Caleb Gindl homered for Milwaukee. Braun's was a blast off Reds reliever Shaun Marshall that struck the batter's eye in straightaway center field. It was his first Spring Training hit after an 0-for-5 start.

Gamel connected on a changeup from Reds starter Mike Leake, who allowed that lone run on three hits in two innings.

"I was trying to make a pitch that I probably wouldn't make during the season," Leake said. "I was trying to work on it. I wasn't able to get it where I wanted. It wasn't a bad pitch. I left it up just a tad."

Brewers starter Zack Greinke retired the first five hitters he faced, the first four on strikeouts, but then had to work, allowing three consecutive hits and two runs. One of the runs was unearned because of a pair of Brewers errors.

"I'm pretty happy with how today went," Greinke said. "The first game was OK, but it didn't feel as free. Today felt a lot better, and hopefully we keep making progress."

Brewers up next: It's a battle of veterans at Maryvale Baseball Park on Friday, when the Brewers' Randy Wolf will make his second spring start against the Indians and sinkerballer Derek Lowe. Braun said he would be back in the starting lineup for a game to be webcast at

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.